Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Iranian Terror Plot in the Works for the Olympics?

he headline for today’s Sunday Times is “Israel fears Iran attack at Games.” According to the report, written by David Leppard and Uzi Mahnaimi, “MI5 and Scotland Yard are thought to have raised their threat assessment against the Israeli delegation following the suicide attack on an Israeli tourist bus in the Black Sea resort of Burgas, Bulgaria, that killed six people last Wednesday.”

Here is the main portion of the article, which is behind a paywall.
Fearing a repeat of the massacre of 11 of its athletes and coaches at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, the Israeli government has dispatched agents from its internal security service Shin Bet to bolster the protection around its 38-strong team, which arrived at the Olympic Village 12 days ago. 
Reports from Tel Aviv this weekend said Mossad, Israel's external secret service, has also sent a team, codenamed Bayonet, to Europe. It is hunting a group of white Europeans who are thought to have converted to Islam and to be working with the Iranian Quds force and Hezbollah, the terrorist group backed by Tehran. 
One of the Israelis' targets is thought to be a terrorist carrying a US passport under the name of David Jefferson, who is believed to have fled after the Burgas attack. 
He is thought to have another powerful device like the one that demolished the bus, killing five tourists, the driver and the terrorist carrying the bomb in a backpack. The Bulgarian blast is thought to be the latest in a series of retaliatory attacks by Iran after it accused Israeli agents of assassinating some of its nuclear scientists… 
…Security experts say the Quds force -- a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards -- has recruited a number of white European Islamic converts, including two Germans, one from Sweden and a couple of Britons.
Leppard and Mahnaimi write that “Senior Whitehall officials played down suggestions of an imminent credible plot against Israel's delegation in London,” and today Israeli officials have done more or less the same.
Before going through some of those responses I’d like to mention a rule of thumb that a friend likes to tell - If it's in the Sunday Times and is about Israel it probably isn't true. If Mahnaimi wrote it then it is definitely 100% made up. I’d also note that Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer says that the Sunday Times report “is not based on any new, exclusive information.” 
According to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, "There is definitely intelligence and operational vigilance ahead of the Olympics. This is mostly being led by British services which are working together with intelligence agencies from around the world to minimize the chance that something will happen during the Olympics."
Barak's senior aid, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, denied that Mossad agents had been sent on a hunt across Europe. According to Gilad, "Intelligence doesn't work that way…you don't send dozens of agents to hunt down ghosts."
Israel Hayom reports Gilad also saying that “There are attempts by Hezbollah and Iran to carry out terror attacks around the world. But this story relates to a general warning. It doesn't mean we don't need to be vigilant, but we need to stay calm."

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